Google apologises after blacklisting entire internet

A typo lead to Google's malware blacklist being applied to every site returned in its search results for an hour today.

A simple human error was enough to lead Google to blacklist every search result it came up with for an hour today, giving users the message "this site may harm your computer" for every link it supplied.

Between 6:30 am and 7:25 am PST, any search result returned by Google was labelled as having malware. Clicking the marked links lead to a warning page, which advised users not to continue on to the intended page as it wasn't safe.

The problem started after Google made an error updating its blacklisting system.

"What happened? Very simply, human error. Google flags search results with the message 'This site may harm your computer' if the site is known to install malicious software in the background or otherwise surreptitiously," wrote Marissa Mayer, vice president of Search Products and User Experience, in the Google blog.

"We periodically update that list and released one such update to the site this morning. Unfortunately (and here's the human error), the URL of '/' was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file and '/' expands to all URLs," Mayer explained.

Google said the problem was quickly fixed, with no users facing any more than 40 minutes of trouble. It is currently up and working as normal.

Promising that Google would investigate the incident and put better checks in place, Mayer apologised to users "who were inconvenienced this morning, and to site owners whose pages were incorrectly labelled."

Featured Resources

Four cyber security essentials that your board of directors wants to know

The insights to help you deliver what they need

Download now

Data: A resource much too valuable to leave unprotected

Protect your data to protect your company

Download now

Improving cyber security for remote working

13 recommendations for security from any location

Download now

Why CEOS should care about the move to SAP S/4HANA

And how they can accelerate business value

Download now

Recommended

DeviceSHIELD combats rising cyber attacks and online fraud amid COVID-19
Security

DeviceSHIELD combats rising cyber attacks and online fraud amid COVID-19

24 Nov 2020
350,000 Spotify users hacked in credential stuffing attack
Security

350,000 Spotify users hacked in credential stuffing attack

24 Nov 2020
WAPDropper malware hooks you up to premium telecoms services
Security

WAPDropper malware hooks you up to premium telecoms services

24 Nov 2020
VMware sounds alarm over zero-day flaws in multiple products
Security

VMware sounds alarm over zero-day flaws in multiple products

24 Nov 2020

Most Popular

macOS Big Sur is bricking some older MacBooks
operating systems

macOS Big Sur is bricking some older MacBooks

16 Nov 2020
46 million Animal Jam accounts leaked after comms software breach
Security

46 million Animal Jam accounts leaked after comms software breach

13 Nov 2020
How computing has revolutionised Formula 1
Sponsored

How computing has revolutionised Formula 1

11 Nov 2020